Give your face and body the star treatment in your own home (and on a reasonable budget!) with these get-radiant tips from the pros.
By Shannan Rouss
A facial can do great things for your skin and your stress level, but if you're having one at a salon, it can be tough on your wallet. That may help explain why, in a poll at Self.com, 53 percent of you said you give yourself facials at home. The good news is, a DIY treatment can be as rejuvenating as a professional version. SELF persuaded the top aestheticians in the country to spill their spa-caliber secrets: You'll learn the essentials of a tailored-to-you routine you can do in your bathroom as well as new, savvy techniques to take basic at-home skills up a notch. (We've also scoredhelpful tips for extending your facial to the rest of your body.) Whether your goal is to clear up acne, calm irritation and blotches, give your skin some serious, head-to-toe spoiling or all three, your appointment is waiting for you!
Master a DIY facial: A step-by-step guide to your most flawless skin. And it takes only 20 minutes!
1. Lather, rinse, repeat
Although most people wash their face in about 15 seconds, pros say the key to removing grime is to s-l-o-w down. Pull your hair back, so you can wash up to the hairline, an area prone to oiliness. Dampen skin, then spend at least a minute massaging your most luxurious cleanser (SELF loves Olay Regenerist Deep Hydrating Mousse Cleanser, $9) into skin in upward, circular motions. "Gently kneading helps minimize puffiness and stimulate circulation," says Sonya Dakar of the Sonya Dakar Skin Clinic in Los Angeles. Rinse thoroughly, then pat dry (rubbing can damage skin) with a towel. Velourlike towels for babies are the gentlest. Find more of our favorite facial products here!
2. Use steam to deep-clean
A facialist has a heavy-duty steam machine to prep pores for exfoliation. "Steam's heat helps soften skin, so you can slough away debris without causing inflammation," says Kate Somerville, founder of Skin Health Experts in L.A. You can get heat's benefits without the machinery: Soak a washcloth in warm water, wring it out and drape it over your face for five minutes. Extra soothing: Add three drops of lavender oil to the water, says Tammy Fender of Tammy Fender Holistic Skin Care in Palm Beach, Florida. The oil combats bacteria and has that I'm-at-a-spa aroma.
3. Blackheads, begone!
Although aestheticians are trained to perform extractions to squeeze bacteria out of clogged pores, you could bruise skin if you try this trick at home. (Their expert techniques don't harm skin.) Thankfully, there is a safe way to clean pores. Try a peel with at least 5 percent glycolic acid (such as Boots No7 Advanced Renewal Glycolic Peel Kit, $25). Paint it on with a fan brush; start at the jawline and work toward the forehead (avoiding eyes). Read the label to see how long you should leave it on, then rinse. You might feel a slight tingling-that means it's working! Did you know parsley reduces the appearance of blemishes?
4. Quench thirsty skin fast
After cleansing, steaming and sloughing, your face may feel a little tight. Pros swear by this make-it-yourself rehydrating mask for leaving skin especially dewy: Cut cotton gauze into four 4-inch strips (or use cotton pads). Dampen with an alcohol-free toner (try June Jacobs Cranberry Hydrating Toner, $40) and lay them across your forehead, chin and cheeks for 15 minutes. (Up the spa factor: Play relaxing music or do some deep breathing.) The gauze pulls the toner's moisturizers into your skin, says Olga Lorencin-Northrup, founder of Kinara Skincare in L.A.
5. Lock in moisture
Your skin will now be smooth and plumped up. Further seal in moisture with a serum containing strengthening peptides, which experts say help stimulate collagen production. A good one: SK-II Signs Wrinkle Serum, $200. Lightly tap it on using only your fingertips; facialists warn that rubbing can wipe the product back onto hands. Because skin under your eyes has fewer oil glands, use an eye cream with hyaluronic acid, which draws in water to condition the skin. Gently pat from the inside corner of the eye outward to help reduce puffiness.
Continue here to find ways to customize your treatment for your skin type! And head here for ways to indulge the rest of your body with tub treatments, salt scrubs, and buffing!
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